Carl Brenders, b. 1937, Wilrijk (Antwerp), Belgium
Belgian artist Carl Brenders is an internationally recognized wildlife painter known for his exceptionally faithful and powerful rendition of nature.
Nature in all its diversity is Carl Brenders’s one and only inspiration. No subject is too humble or noble for him. He will paint with equal love and focus a cluster of ladybugs, a clutch of ducklings, a fox, a pride of lions or a small patch of lichen growing on a branch. Capturing nature’s wildlife in all its beauty and drama imparts Carl’s work with considerable and captivating variety. The meticulously detailed paintings, so striking in their tactile realism, express the artist’s philosophy that nature is perfect: “This is why I paint the way I do with so much detail and so much realism – I want to capture that perfection”.
All of Carl’s paintings derive from an extensive on site study of the fauna, flora and environment. He will personally take countless photos of the animal and its habitat, taking great care to document all the elements that will set the stage for his subject such as the vegetation at a particular time of year, the light, the relief of the landscape, the shape and color of the rocks... Only then will Carl let his imagination kick in, “the painting takes form in my mind and I make a few sketches.” His vision finally materializes in a detailed pencil drawing which he then projects to his illustration board making adjustments to his composition before applying color. Although Carl has experimented twice with acrylic paint, he remains partial to the technique he has developed over the last thirty years. His paintings, typically created on illustration board, are executed in a mixed-media combination of watercolor and gouache.
The powerful renditions of wildlife in all its spectrum, the mastery of details and the tactile realism Carl creates in his paintings irresistibly draw in the viewers, confronting them to a close encounter with an elusive and, sometimes, dangerous animal. Such vivid emotion caused by the artist’s capture of nature explains the popularity of Carl Brenders with the public and his stature in the art world.
The deep respect and admiration Carl feels towards nature and its wildlife does not only manifest itself in his works but also in his staunch defense of the environment in a world that has become more and more hostile to animals and vegetation.
Although Carl sees himself as a mere artisan, world acclaimed and fellow wildlife Canadian artist Robert Bateman refutes such an assertion and writes: “Carl is, after all, from Flanders. He takes us out of doors and his birds and mammals are very much alive, but his art is part of that same great tradition. Carl is a Flemish master.”